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The Lesson By Toni Cade Bambara

1318 words - 5 pages

Sometimes growing up we experience situations that can change our perspective on life. Especially, when these situations happen unexpectedly; we are in disbelief. In Toni Cade Bambara short story “The Lesson” written in first person; it delves into the struggle of a girl, Sylvia, who realizes the economic and social injustice surrounding her. However, with the help of Miss Moore Sylvia comes to grip with this issue, and opts to overcome it. In “The Lesson” Miss Moore wanted to impart on Sylvia and the other children is the value of a dollar, the importance of education, and to fathom the social and economic injustice that bounded them.
To begin with, Miss Moore, Sylvia, and the other children are from the “slums”. However, what differentiate Miss Moore and everyone else in the neighborhood is that she has a college education, and speaks Standard English. As a result, Miss Moore plays the role as teacher to the neighborhood children. Most of the children from the neighborhood were poverty stricken and had a ghetto vernacular. Especially, Sylvia, who mouth is atrocious and has a strong animosity towards Miss Moore. For instance,“Miss Moore was her name. The only woman on the block with no first name. And she was black as hell, cept for her feet, which were fish-white and spooky.” Moreover, Miss Moore has high expectations of the children, so she takes them on a trip outside the hood to unveil the real world. Before going on the trip to the toy store Miss Moore tried to explain the value of money to the children. For example, “So we heading down the street and she’s boring us silly about what things cost and what our parents make and how much goes for rent and how money ain’t divided up right in this country.” At first, Sylvia is too stubborn to understand the significance of the conversation and shrugs everything off. However, she will eventually understand the true lesson at hand.
Furthermore, Miss Moore hails two cabs and gives each of the children five dollars for transportation. Shortly after, getting in the cab; Miss Moore and the children arrive to Fifth Avenue at the F.A.O. Schwarz, toy store. The atmosphere had instantly changed and Sylvia and the other children noticed. To illustrate, “Then we check out that we on Fifth Avenue and everybody dressed in stockings. One lady in a fur coat, hot as it is, White folks crazy.” Before, actually going in Miss Moore advises that they look through the toy store window first. While looking through the window the children examines each toy. First a three hundred dollar microscope, then a four hundred and eighty dollar paperweight, and lastly this hand crafted sailboat that cost one hundred and ninety five dollars. Each item brought about an educational, yet debatable conversation. However, the sailboat is what peaked the climax of story ,and really stunned the children; especially, Sylvia. Sylvia is at raged with the price of this sailboat, and her mind begins to fill with questions. To illustrate,...

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